Change & Grief
Formal Definition of Depression
Journey of Hearts
A Healing Place in CyberSpaceTM
Formal Definition of
Formal Diagnosis of Major
The following criteria are taken
from the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
4th edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association,
For your convenience, a general
listing of signs and symptoms of depression, the translated version, follows
the formal diagnostic criteria, for ease in interpreting the symptoms.
For a diagnosis of a major
least 5 of the following symptoms.
2. These symptoms must be present
during the same 2 week period.
3. These symptoms must represent
a change from a previous level of functioning.
Depressed mood, nearly every day
during most of the day.
Marked diminished interest or pleasure
in almost all activities.
Significant weight loss (when not
dieting), weight gain, or a change in appetite.
Insomnia or hypersomnia (excess
Psychomotor agitation or psychomotor
Fatigue or loss of energy.
Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate
Impaired ability to concentrate
Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent
Signs and Symptoms
- General Terms
Psychological symptoms: Feelings,
thoughts and behaviors
Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable
Dissatisfaction with life
Withdrawal from social activities
Loss of energy
Feeling useless or hopeless
Great concern with health problems
Sadness or crying
Worry and/or self-criticism
Difficulty concentrating and/or
Loss of appetite and weight
Physical or "Somatic" Symptoms
Feeling sad, blue, depressed, or
hopeless most of the day.
Greatly reduced interest or pleasure
in all or almost all activities; inability to think of anything that would
be enjoyable to do (health permitting)
Feelings of excessive guilt, or
a feeling that one is a worthless person.
Slowed or agitated movements (not
in response to pain or discomfort)
Recurrent thoughts of dying or of
ending one's own life, with or without a specific plan.
Significant, unintentional weight
loss and decrease in appetite; or, less commonly, weight gain and increased
Insomnia or excessive sleeping
Fatigue and loss of energy
A diminished ability to think, concentrate,
or make decisions
Physical symptoms of anxiety, including
dry mouth, cramps, diarrhea, and sweating, ideation, or suicide attempt
Copyright 1996 Pfizer Inc. Common Symptoms of Depression.*
If you are feeling like harming yourself or someone else, or are feeling
depressed, helpless or hopeless, Call 911,
your local suicide hot-line,
or Crisis Intervention line,
located in the Yellow Pages, or contact the Samaritans via e-mail at:
Call someone--a friend, or family
member, your clergy or physician. Look in the Yellow pages under Counselors,
Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists, if you feel you may need
immediate professional assistance.
If you or anyone you know seems
to be experiencing depression, consider taking one of the quizzes on the
other depression pages, Self
Assessment Quiz or Wakefield
Questionnaire and contact your health care provider, counselor, clergy
member or social worker and get the help you need.
Last updated June 21, 1998
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